The instructors of the Academy


Kancho Nenad leads a Black Belt class 1996







Kancho Nenad Djurdjevic

The Principal or Kancho of the Academy of Traditional Fighting Arts is Nenad Djurdjevic, a martial arts black belt with 30 years of experience. He is a specialist in practical self defence as well as a traditional martial arts instructor. His studies into the martial arts have encompassed the arts of Okinawan Goju-ryu Karate-do, Aikido, Okinawan Kobudo (Okinawan martial arts weapons system), the Japanese weapons arts of Jodo (4ft staff) and Kenjutsu (sword), Filipino Arnis (the knife and stick fighting system of the Philippines), Qin-na (the grappling and seizing fighting system of China) and the 'soft' art of Taijiquan (both in its health and combat forms).

In addition to his martial arts qualifications Kancho Nenad holds Bachelor degrees in Engineering and Sport Science. The latter degree enables him to integrate the latest knowledge in sports medicine into the Academy, including health, fitness and injury prevention/rehabilitation.

He is dedicated both to improving his own knowledge and to providing tuition of the highest quality in a relaxed and friendly environment.

He has been holding short courses in self defence since 1987 for a variety of community groups including women's groups, fitness centres, Rotary clubs, Scouting organisations, the Catholic Migrant Centre and the staff of various government departments and hospitals. He has taught self defence and restraint techniques to security guards, crowd controllers and youth-workers.

He has also taught courses at the University of Western Australia, Curtin University, Hollywood High School, North Lake Senior Campus, Carine High School, Alexander College and Christchurch Grammar School.

Furthermore, Nenad has run courses for young people and teenagers with special needs in the metropolitan area, and for young people in remote aboriginal communities, in each case with a view to improving their self-esteem and assisting them to develop non-violent conflict management skills.

Outside the Academy Nenad is a motorcycle rider training instructor and is of course a keen motorcyclist. His other interests include, photography, mountaineering, bushwalking, scuba diving and almost any outdoor pursuit. He is fortunate to be married to Tania who shares his love of the outdoors and sense of adventure (see Nenad's Advantage Adventures web pages). 



Kancho Nenad Djurdjevic

Kancho Nenad applying 'kani-basami' scissors takedown on Sempai Jeff in 1993

Wooden Dummy training at Gashuku 1993




Shihan Dejan (Dan) Djurdjevic

The Chief Instructor, Shihan Dejan Djurdjevic, began a formal study of martial arts in Febuary 1981. His studies into the martial arts have encompassed the arts of Okinawan Goju-ryu Karate-do, Aikido, Okinawan Kobudo (Okinawan martial arts weapons system), the Japanese weapons arts of Jodo (4ft staff) and Kenjutsu (sword), Filipino Arnis (the knife and stick fighting system of the Philippines), Qin-na (the grappling and seizing fighting system of China) and the 'soft' art of Taijiquan (both in its health and combat forms).

In addition to his martial arts qualifications Shihan Dan (as he is known) hsas a law degree and as such has assisted the College in formulating its approach to self-defence from a legal standpoint. Shihan Dan also has an interest in the Chinese classics and in particular, the Chinese philosophy of Daoism, from which the concept of Wu-Wei is derived.

Shihan Dan's is more than just a theoretical understanding however, as he has the rare distinction of being someone that truly does live his life according to wu-wei - that is, he is a person who takes the "harmonious path", or the "path of least resistance" whenever possible but who at the same time is not short of steely resolve when necessary.

Blessed with a near-photographic memory and an attention to detail second to none, Shihan Dan is referred to as the 'living encyclopaedia' of the Academy. This, in combination with his deep philosophical knowledge and his ability to 'persevere in spite of all obstacles' makes him an invaluable asset to the organisation.

Shihan Dan has been responsible for furthering the knowledge of the Academy and has made numerous research trips for this purpose.  He has regularly made trips to train with Chen Yun-Ching, son of the legendary Chen Pan-Ling, since 2005 and in January 2009 he was given the rare honour of becoming his "bai shi" or "inner circle student" in an elaborate ceremony held in Kaohsiung, Taiwan.

Shihan Dan is a prolific writer of martial arts related articles, many of which can be found on his blog The Way of Least Resistance.

Shihan Dan's other interests include writing, music/sound engineering, video editing/production and graphic art.

His personal website can be found here.


Shihan Dan

Shihan Dan practising Seiyunchin kata


Sensei Jeff Cosgrove

Sensei Jeff started training at the Nedlands dojo, under the tutelage of Kancho Nenad and Shihan Dan, in 1986. Once in the senior ranks Jeff assisted Kancho Nenad with instructing self-defence courses and went on to instruct a number of the courses himself. He also took the children’s classes for a period before becoming co-instructor at the Wembley dojo as a shodan.

Jeff then moved to Melbourne for a couple of years. While there, he ran a small satellite dojo and continued to receive instruction from Kancho and Shihan.

Jeff has attended two intensive training courses held by Laoshi Bob Davies on his visits to Australia as well and an advanced lesson series held by LaoTze Bob’s senior student Nick Nell.

Due to knee injuries Jeff took an extended absence from training. He decided to take on something he thought was not quite so taxing – Latin dancing – and in doing so met the lady that is now his wife (Denise). After getting married and honeymooning by spending 6 months trekking through South America Jeff commenced a PhD in Marine Botany (2003). With PhD completed (late 2007) Jeff returned to training at the Bayswater dojo (after a short delay to find money!) and received his 3rd Dan in April 2009.



Sensei Tim Brown

Sensei Tim began training in January 1997. As is the norm rather than the exception in the Academy, his road to black belt was a long one - eight and a half years. In that time he has demonstrated a spirit of perseverance and an attention to detail that is an example to all of our other members. Tim is not only one of only two people who passed the Level 1 instructors' exam on their first attempt but he also scored the highest mark to date.

As well as martial arts Tim has also studied yoga since 1996, first Iyengar yoga and since 2001, the dynamic and athletic Astanga style of yoga. As a result, despite having been naturally inflexible, he has well and truly overcome this initial disadvantage and can now for example even do the splits vertically against a wall (see picture at left).

Tim also supplements his karate and yoga with gym sessions, running, cycling, swimming and lots of stretching.

In 2004, Tim travelled to China, the original source of martial arts. While there, he sought out and found a Shaolin school at which he trained diligently. The forms and techniques he learned have now been added to the Academy’s knowledge base.

Tim's personal philosophy is that martial arts is "all about the journey and not the destination."

Outside of his martial arts pursuits, Tim completed a Law Degree in 2001 and an Arts Degree in Philosophy in 2002 at the University of Notre Dame Australia. He has contributed an essay to our "articles" page comparing Plato and Lao Tzu which you may read here.

Tim was the head of the Nedlands branch of the Academy before moving to Melbourne.  He is currently on sabbatical in Europe.



    Sempai Jed Handmer

Sempai Jed is a creative, multi-talented and dedicated individual. He commenced training in 1996 and was awarded shodan (1st dan black belt) in 2005.

His easy manner and enthusiasm make him a popular instructor.  Furthermore his experience from years of security work lends a practical edge to his knowledge.  Accordingly he has assisted Kancho Nenad in running a number of self-defence and martial arts courses for schools, community groups, gyms and the general public.

 Jed's enquiring mind and desire to obtain a deep understanding of martial arts makes him the epitome of the 'thinking martial artist'.

Outside of martial arts Jed is an accomplished musician and songwriter. He is also a talented artist and craftsman.  When this creativity is combined with his intellect, pragmatism and enviable power it produces a formidable martial artist and a passionate instructor.



Jed teaching Self Defence at Christ Church Grammar School


Sempai David Zimmerman

David began training in the Academy in August 1999 in Perth, Western Australia under the guidance of Kancho Nenad Djurdjevic and Shihan Dejan Djurdjevic. In January 2004 David moved to London where he continued training regularly in Goju-Ryu with Kushido UK under Sensei Peter Bauer (3rd Dan) in London and Sensei Lindsay Jenkins (3rd Dan) in Windsor. In addition since arriving in London David has also been training in Jujitsu with Sensei Grant Wakeman (3rd Dan).

Since moving to Europe David has also attended an International Gashuku in Hungary under Shihan Attila (5th Dan) in June 2004 and in April 2005 attended the 15th Anniversary of Kushido England Gashuku run by Sensei Lindsay. David has also travelled to Wales to train with Sensei Thomas Buchi (4th Dan) in Kushido and (5th Dan) So-Pa, a unique Goju Ryu Karate and taiji system. David's international travels have also seen him attend courses in Switzerland training with Renshi Paul Bauman (7th Dan) and Hanshi Patrick McCarthy (8th Dan)

In late September 2005 David decided to take the big step of establishing a branch of the Academy in London and, after a great deal of persistence, finally found premises and training commenced.

In January 2006 David travelled back to Perth and attended regular training sessions at the Nedlands dojo as well as a Shodan promotion course. At the end of this two week visit he completed his final grading and other prerequisites for his Shodan grade.

David has returned to London where he ran the London Branch of the Academy.  Due to family commitments his dojo is in temporary abeyance.




Sempai Samuel Lau

Details coming soon